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Garrett Gazette - August 20, 2007

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Garrett Gazette - August 20, 2007

Dear Friends:

Earlier this month, I was pleased to announce a $590,000 federal grant I had helped to secure for the Paramus Veterans Home. The funding will be used to replace the outdated fire alarm system at the Home, which is residence to more than 300 veterans and their spouses.

In June 2006, I brought Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson to the Paramus Veterans Home so he could see first-hand the needs of the Home staff and residents. He was able to tour the facility, meet with local veterans, and talk to Home staff. In addition to impressing upon him the need for financial assistance to replace the fire alarm system - a critical health and safety need for the facility, I also spoke to him about the need for assistance to replace the aging HVAC system there and to expand and renovate the Home's day room.

While not as immediately apparent as the need for a new fire alarm system, these other projects are also important for the well-being of the residents. For instance, the day room is the part of the Paramus Veterans Home that makes it more than simply an institution for aging veterans; it makes it a home worthy of the heroes who live there. A positive and comfortable environment contributes to the mental health and therefore the physical health of these veterans.

I am now working with my colleagues in the New Jersey Congressional delegation and with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to seek grants for these other projects as well. The federal grants match state and local funding that has already been dedicated for these projects.

Sincerely,

Scott Garrett

Member of Congress

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: GARRETT WARNS AGAINST ENORMOUS EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE

Just prior to adjourning for the August district work period, Congress passed an extraordinary expansion of government-run health care in the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). When combined with Medicare eligibility, the bill passed by Congress will put more than two-thirds of Americans within the purview of government health programs. President Bush has already indicated that he will veto the bill.

The Bergen Record published an op-ed drafted by Congressman Garrett on this matter. In case you missed it, here it is:

This entitlement will sink us
Tuesday, August 7, 2007

By SCOTT GARRETT

THE U.S. HOUSE of Representatives last week approved a $160 billion entitlement explosion, a $53 billion tax hike, relaxed rules for illegal immigrant access to federal benefits, and a package of Medicare cuts. With this they are saddling our children with extraordinary debt, and are doing so without my vote.

All of this was rolled into a single bill: the so-called reauthorization of the SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program).

The program was established under the premise that it would provide health insurance for children whose families were too wealthy to qualify for Medicaid, but too poor to afford private insurance. In the intervening years, it has strayed far from this premise. And the bill passed this week not only doesn't return it to its roots, it expands it so dramatically that, if signed into law, two-thirds of the American people could end up under government-run health care.

The Democrats' SCHIP bill is a thinly veiled effort to shift children - and, under its own definitions, adults - from private health coverage to a government-run entitlement program.

Nationalized health care

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 2.1 million people who are currently covered by private health plans will be forced into this nationalized health care. We all know how efficiently the government runs the programs already in its authority - according to the Congressional Research Service, the Medicare hot line rang 42.2 million times last year and Medicare lost an estimated 3 percent to 10 percent of all its funding to waste, fraud, and abuse in 2006. Do we really want them to have control of everyone's health care?

Unfair taxation

Furthermore, there's almost no effort to hide this bulk transfer to nationalized health care. Under its oxymoronic eligibility criteria, at least 70,000 American families will now be both eligible for taxpayer-funded entitlement health care and subject to the unfair Alternative Minimum Tax, the tax that was intended for millionaires. Families will have their hard-earned money sucked from their budget by the bracket creep of the AMT in order to subsidize their own government-run health care.

Rather than take money out of the parents' pockets to provide government health care for their children, wouldn't that family be better served if we put our resources into fixing the AMT, allowing them to keep their hard-earned money in the first place?

Interestingly enough, the SCHIP bill balances the new entitlements on the backs of our nation's vulnerable seniors with $37.1 billion in cuts to Medicare providers. It makes cuts for hospital care, skilled nursing care, home health care, oxygen therapy and imaging. It even limits access to wheelchairs.

And, according to a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report, an estimated 3 million seniors will literally lose their coverage altogether, including more than 6,700 seniors in New Jersey's 5th District.

Paying for illegal immigrants

To make matters worse, the SCHIP bill also forces the American taxpayer to pay for health benefits for illegal immigrants. It removes current safeguards meant to keep illegal immigrants from accessing SCHIP benefits, while simultaneously establishing a mandatory $400 million expenditure for translation services for non-English-speaking enrollees.

The SCHIP bill is dangerous policy. And, it was brought to the floor through dangerous procedure, bypassing debate and committee review in an effort to cram it through the House before adjourning for the month of August.

The family budget - for today's taxpayers and tomorrow's - should be our first concern, not cheap political ploys.

The president has said he will veto this bill. With a strong bipartisan vote against the bill of more than 200 representatives, his veto should stand. At that point, I hope the Democratic leadership will go back to the drawing board and formulate a reasonable proposal that protects children, seniors and taxpayers.

Scott Garrett is a Republican U.S. representative in the 5th District, serving Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties.

CONGRESSMAN SCOTT GARRETT'S OFFICE COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU:

Congressman Garrett's staff will be holding Mobile Constituent Service Hours in a number of Fifth District towns this week. The Congressman's Constituent Service Officers are trained to act as your liaisons with Federal agencies. But, it's not always easy to make it out to one of the Congressman's district offices - in Paramus and Newton - to meet with one of them, especially when you are dealing with government red tape. These Mobile Constituent Service Hours sessions bring the Congressman's office to you. So, if you are having trouble with a Federal program, such as Medicare, veterans benefits, Social Security, or more, please feel free to come by. And, please bring copies of any relevant paperwork with you to facilitate their work.

Tuesday, August 21st

Blairstown

10:00 am to noon
Municipal Building, 106 Route 94

Tuesday, August 21st

Hillsdale

10:00 am to noon
Borough Hall, 380 Hillsdale Avenue

Tuesday, August 21st

Westwood

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Borough Hall, 101 Washington Avenue

Thursday, August 23rd

Oakland

10:00 am to noon
Borough Hall, One Municipal Plaza

Thursday, August 23rd

Washington (Warren County)

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Chamber of Commerce, 10 Brass Castle Road


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